Sunday, September 25

“Godnapping” in the Ancient Near East

this was so fascinating, kings would kidnap the God Statues of the countries and kingdoms they conquered and took them back...

now this is something that India should have done as well, instead of breaking the idols and temples and mosques, you take it away to your own kingdom, eh? much better idea, no?

See the article here.

I captured the cities of Tarbaṣu and Yaballu. I carried off 30,000 people, together with their possessions, their property, their goods, and their gods. I destroyed those cities, together with cities in their environs, making them like the tells after the Deluge. – Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser III (745-727 BCE)
When Mesopotamian polities went to war, the successful party gained more than just territory. Triumphant kings boast in their inscriptions that they carried off royal family members, deportees, and precious goods and treasures. Often nested in these lists is a more unusual type of loot: the gods of the losing king or polity were also moved into the victorious king’s homeland. This particular removal of gods, called “godnapping” by modern scholars, is attested over a long period of Mesopotamian history, from the start of the 2nd millennium through the 5th century BCE. But how can a mortal carry off a divine being against its will?
Ancient Near Eastern gods were represented on earth by cult images. Often anthropomorphic, the images were made from a wooden core with precious metals and stones as decoration. These statues would have stood in temples, locations that were thought of as the houses of the gods, and received offerings there. Because of the perishable nature of the core material, none of the original cult images have survived until today, but there are texts that describe the creation of these statues and the rituals that imbued them with the divine spirit. Reliefs also depict these divine images, as seen in an example from the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III’s palace reliefs in Nimrud, which features Assyrian soldiers carrying off an enemy’s gods. Most of the evidence for godnapping, however, comes from texts, including royal inscriptions, chronicles, and letters.

No comments: